Chicago - City of Broad Shoulders

This course is about Chicago, We will cover the history of the city and region, the politics, corruption, arts, plans, neighborhoods, humor, achievements and the future of the City.

Geography and Glaciers

Chicago's geography resulted from the action of large glaciers during the Ice Age which created Lake Michigan.  The Chicago region is a flat plain that was the bottom of the ancestral Lake Chicago.

The Glacier over Lake Michigan was approximately one mile high. It formed a very large river valley along the Des Plaines and Illinois Rivers when it melted.  At one point the Glacier blocked the Mississippi River and the Chicago / Desplaines/ Illinois Rivers drained the melting waters of the Glacier, resulting in a very wide river valley. 

The highest point within the city limits is in the Beverly neighborhood. This ridge was called Blue Island because it looked like an island set in the prairie.  

When Chicago was founded the land was a swamp. It took a major effort to raise the grade of buildable areas and create storm and sanitary sewers to drain the region.

City limits of Chicago

A very large limestone quarry has been excavated south of the city in Thornton.  The Thornton quarry was a coral reef when the area was covered by a sea many millions of years ago. 

  1. Geography of Chicago - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Chicago's present natural geography is a result of the large glaciers of the Ice Age, namely the Wisconsinan Glaciation that carved out the modern basin of Lake ...
  2. Glacial Lakes - Department of Geography - Michigan State University
    Initially, excess water from Glacial Lake Maumee flowed southwest to the Wabash River, and Glacial Lake Chicago drained west and south by way of the ...
  3. Glaciers - An Overview of Glaciers - Geography -
    A comprehensive overview of glaciers. Includes the types of glaciers, how glacierscarve the land, and the importance of glaciers. From Colin Stief of Geography ...

  4. The Elementary School Teacher and the Course of Study - Volume 3 - Page 573 - Google Books Result
    Hills, valleys, and plains — due to glaciers. Contributions of glaciers to the localgeography of Chicago. (Study of work of glaciers at Cary, Glencoe, and Stony ...

  5. Bulletin of the Geographic Society of Chicago - Issue 1 - Page 19 - Google Books Result
    Geographic Society of Chicago - 1920 - Geography
    Geographic Society of Chicago. been called interglacial. During the glacial epochs the climate was severe, and the ice-sheets were enlarged; during the ...
  6. Geography of Palos Hills, Illinois
    Geography of Palos Hills, Illinois ... That extensive area of water was called glacialLake Chicago. It is right here in the Palos area where the moraines broke and ...
  7. BBC - GCSE Bitesize - Glacial landscapes and processes › Home › Geography
    A secondary school revision resource for GCSE Geography on the topic of glaciallandscapes and processes, glacial deposition and erosion.
  8. What role did glaciers play in shaping the physical geography of ... › Categories › Society & Culture
    Chicago's present natural geography is a result... 436 days ago. What is the role ofGlacier Park International Airport? Glacier Park International Airport is loacted ...
  9. Chicago Geology - Faculty Home
    In the Chicago region, glacial melt was dammed first by the Lake Border Moraine. ...Another major change in the geography of Chicago occurred with the in ...